Pakistan v Sri Lanka preview

Sri Lanka go into the third and final Test against Pakistan in Sharjah looking to record their first series win in the UAE.

The only other series they've played in the UAE, given Pakistan's lack of home cricket due to safety concerns, was in 2011/12 and Pakistan won one-nil. Now, Sri Lanka lead the series by the same margin and thus cannot lose.

The win in Dubai was clinical, if a bit dull. It's tough to win a game in less than five days and still be less than exciting, but there you have it. Paceman Suranga Lakmal did the job with the ball and the top order did the trick with the bat for the visitors.

One man who impressed greatly was new opener Kaushal Silva, who recorded two half centuries for Sri Lanka. He made his debut in 2011 but has only played five Tests, and he did well to keep his name on the team sheet heading to Sharjah.

On the other side of the age coin, veteran Mahela Jayawardene answered his critics, after a poor run of form, with a solid century. He came in with his side in a bit of bother, and his knock, along with Silva's, put the team on the road to victory.

Pakistan, on the other hand, were dire. Their batting was abysmal in the first innings, all out for 165, and again they had to rely on veteran duo Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan later on. The pair rescued the side from 19 for three to 148 for four.

It wasn't enough though as Sri Lanka needed only 137 to win, and the home bowling was not nearly effective enough to thwart such a small target. Spinner Saeed Ajmal's minor returns continued, while the pacemen toiled for century figures.

This time, both sides will look to their spinners yet again. Like in Dubai, where the track was expected to turn more than it did, the Sharjah deck holds positive memories for both Ajmal and Rangana Herath. The latter has had a more impressive series.

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews has said he doesn't see a need to change a winning side, especially with bowlers that are taking wickets on dead-ish tracks.


Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Rahat ali, Mohammad Talha, Sarfraz Ahmed.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Prasanna Jayawardene, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Vishwa Fernando, Kusal Perera.